the U-21 list, Manu del Moral, Javi (!!!) & more!
The list: Luis Milla has announced the list of 23 players called up for next month’s U-21 Euro, and they are…
Goalkeepers: David de Gea, Rubén Miño, Diego Mariño.
Defenders: Mikel San José, Álvaro Domínguez, Martín Montoya, Dídac Vilà, Alberto Botia, Víctor Ruiz, César Azpilicueta, José Ángel Valdés.
Midfielders: Thiago Alcántara, Rubén Pérez, Dani Parejo, Diego Capel, Ander Herrera, Emilio Nsue, Juan Mata, Javi Martínez (!!!).
Forwards: Iker Muniain, Bojan Krkic, Adrián López Álvarez, Jeffrén Suárez.
The players are due at the Hotel Tryp Alameda Aeropuerto on the afternoon of May 31, and on the afternoon of June 1, they will begin their concentración at Las Rozas (I guess once the senior team leaves). On June 4, they’ll travel to Soria to play Russia the next day at Los Pajaritos, staying at the Hotel Villa de Almazán. After that, they’ll return to Madrid and Las Rozas. On June 8, they’ll leave for Copenhagen in the morning (flight JK 025), and then go on to Silkeborg via Aarhus in the afternoon, where they’ll stay at the Radisson Blu Hotel.
Meet Manu del Moral: the latest addition to La Roja should make Sergio Ramos happy, because it means one more vote for flamenco music: Manu loves flamenco, and he listens to El Barrio and Camarón before games.
More about Manu: he was born in Jaén (Andalucía) on Feb. 25, 1984 and his formation was in the cantera of Atleti. He then caught the eye of Recre, where he played two seasons on loan. After returning to Atleti for one season, he signed for Getafe, where Bernd Schuster got a lot out of him and where he would play for the next five years and end up as vice captain and the top goalscorer in Getafe’s history. He joined Sevilla this summer.
His reaction to being called up was “a great amount of satisfaction; it’s the happiest day of my life. I’m realizing a dream and I have to thank the seleccionador. I will return his confidence on the playing field.” He also admitted that he was taken by surprise: “I had no idea that the coach was going to call me up, I just knew they were to play two friendlies and I was waiting for the list to see who was going to go. Before they announced it publically, they called me and I couldn’t believe it, I’m so happy.”
No we can’t: it looks like U.S. President Barack Obama won’t be meeting La Roja after all. Despite Ángel Villar’s best attempts, he said it was a “mission impossible” yesterday because Obama has a very full agenda. The RFEF also said they had made no attempts to meet up with Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, the other country where Spain will be playing.
Foiled again: remember how last time Andoni Iraola’s bachelor party had to be rescheduled due to his call-up to La Roja? Well, this time, it will be his honeymoon that’s affected. Andoni is getting married on Saturday (congratulations!!), but on Monday, he’ll have to be in Madrid to meet up with his Spanish national team teammates.
One more friendly: Ukraine is the latest possible destination for La Roja. The RFEF is negotiating to play a friendly in Kiev (in the stadium where the final of the 2012 Euro will take place) against the Ukrainian national team on Sept. 2, as they have a free slot in their schedule before they take on Liechtenstein in Logroño. If that’s set, the rest of 2011 should look like this: in August against Italy, in September against Ukraine and Liechtenstein, in October vs. the Czech Republic and Scotland, and in November against England and possibly China.
!!!!!!!!!!: Javi (!!!) spoke to UEFA’s web site recently, and had some interesting things to say, despite not being asked about his career as an underwear model or his upcoming U.S. road trip. He’ll be the U-21 team’s captain in the upcoming Euro in Denmark (I might have to do a captain vs. captain comparison). Anyway, among the things he talked about was his and (por favor) Juan Mata’s return to the U-21 category.
“Obviously I started to play the qualifying phase for the Under-21s and I’m the type of person that doesn’t like to leave things half-finished,” the Estella-born player said. “[After the World Cup] Mata and I spoke with [Luis Milla] before returning and there were no problems whatsoever,” he added. “On a personal note I was thrilled to be back in the mix. As a group we all decided it was a goal to get to Denmark and in the end we did which was marvellous.”
A U-19 Euro Championship winner in 2007, Martínez continued his rapid rise on the international front and was overjoyed when called up to Vicente del Bosque’s squad for the World Cup a year ago. “To have been called into such a select group of players was incredible,” he reminisced. “When we then actually won the thing, well, it rounded off the perfect script. It was an explosion of happiness and the welcome we received back in Spain was really beautiful.”
Next month’s U-21 championship could provide a gateway to the 2012 Olympic Games, the same year that Spain will be hoping to defend their European title at the 2012 Euro. “These are two dream events for any player and of course I would like to be involved in both,” Martínez said. “It’s not me who decides on whether I’m involved though; that’s up to the coach.”
Let’s hope all coaches count on Javi (!!!) for maximum exposure!!